2012-07-30 at 16:05
City looks to extend licence agreement to allow Horizon access to NorWesters
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There may be calls for a moratorium on wind-farm projects in Ontario, but the City of Thunder Bay has asked the province to extend a temporary agreement with the province to allow Horizon Wind Limited Partnership access to its proposed turbine farm site on the Nor’Wester Mountain Range.
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City council on Monday is expected to vote on a five-year extension of the 2007 licence agreement, which would allow Horizon access to the site via Little Norway Road.
The company needs to visit the site to do both preparatory work and test and studies associated with the controversial project.
Under terms of the deal the Toronto-based energy company would reimburse the city the annual $1,250 licensing fee owed to the province.
The deal will only be valid until Horizon completes its permanent access route via Loch Lomond Road.
In 2011 the two sides finally agreed to a 25-year lease agreement that allow the company to build on lands situated in Neebing Township, but owned by the city.
The deal earns Thunder Bay $25,000 annually in rent for the property, whether or not turbines are built. But nearby residents have fought the multi-million development, claiming the proposed turbines pose a health risk and are too close to nearby homes.
Recently Health Canada has indicated it will conduct a study on turbine health risks and have asked the province to hold off approval of any new projects until the results are known.
Horizon has until Sept. 2, 2014 to build at least one turbine, or the city may terminate the lease.
In 2010, when city councillors voted to re-structure the original lease agreement, Horizon sued the city for $126 million, a lawsuit that was ultimately dropped when the company and city worked out a new deal.
The city may also end the proposed licence agreement by giving Horizon a three-month written notice.
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